Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday carried out a bureaucratic reshuffle to bring in new officers to head crucial departments such as agriculture, telecom and information technology and moved out others who were unable to match the government’s expectations.
A government official suggested the reshuffle, originally necessitated due to some retirements, reflected the government’s commitment to closely watch the performance of civil servants too and take corrective steps.
“You will also notice that the intention is to post the best man for the job in crucial sectors, even if he or she is not amongst the senior most,” he added.
Earlier this week, the Prime Minister told senior officers to act against officers indulging in corruption and those who did not bother to redress public grievances. This action, he added, could include sacking them.
In all, 10 officers were appointed on Friday.
Uttar Pradesh cadre IAS officer JS Deepak has been appointed as the telecom secretary and replaced Rakesh Garg who will now head the minority affairs department.
Garg, who is two years senior to 1982-batch Deepak, was one of the first few officers to be appointed by the NDA government soon after Modi took charge. Sources said Garg had been asking for a change.
Deepak, who earlier was the IT secretary, will still be reporting to Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad who holds the charge of both the IT and the telecom departments. He shall hand over the reins of the IT department to Aruna Sharma, who is also a 1980 batch officer from the Madhya Pradesh cadre.
Sharma had landed into a controversy, during her previous stint at the Centre as Doordarshan’s director general, for awarding contracts for broadcasting rights to UK-based SIS Live for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. But she emerged unscathed and was cleared for holding a secretary-level post by the Modi government.
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has also appointed Karnataka cadre IAS officer Shobhana K Pattanayak as the next secretary of the agriculture department. Avinash K Srivastava, special secretary in the agriculture ministry, has been appointed to head the food processing ministry.
Vinod Agrawal, secretary of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, and Shyam S Agrawal, secretary of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, have been moved up and appointed secretary of the disabilities department and the tribal affairs ministry.
Arun Jha, a 1981 batch Bihar cadre officer, was moved out as the tribal affairs secretary’s. Jha has now been appointed as the secretary of the commission for scheduled castes.